Google May Soon Let You Subscribe to Android Apps

Buying individual apps in the Google Play marketplace might soon become a thing of the past.

Credit: Shutterstock

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The folks over at XDA-Developers are piecing together the possibility of Google offering app subscriptions in an upcoming Google Play update. It's not immediately clear how it'll work or whether it'll even happen, but all signs are pointing to it becoming a reality.

The rumor started over the summer when an app developer named Kieron Quinn found some extra code inside Android that referred to a service called Play Pass. After digging a little deeper, the developer found that the service in some way related to a subscription offering.

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Fast-forward to late last week, and Quinn might have received some more information, according to XDA. He received a screenshot from a friend who was answering a survey from Google. One of the questions referred to a subscription service and asked if the branding for it made sense.

"Imagine your app store has a subscription that offers hundreds of dollars worth of paid apps and game for a monthly fee," the question read. "How well does 'Pass' describe this service?"

Of course, that's not a smoking gun, but it could signal that a big change is coming.

Adding a subscription service to Google Play could be a boon for the company and potentially, developers. As app marketplaces swell, so, too, do the number of free apps. Offering subscriptions on paid apps could create a new revenue stream for Google. And such a move could prompt more people to opt for paid apps instead of free apps.

Still, for now, this is all speculation. If Google is planning on launching Play Pass, there's no indication in the code or the survey when that might happen.

Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.